Robert G. Lowery

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Robert G. Lowery, Sr.
Mayor of Florissant, Missouri
Assumed office
February, 2001
Preceded by James J. Eagan
In office
April 2003 – May 2007
Personal details
Born 1940
Political party Democratic
Children Robert Lowery Jr.

Robert G. Lowery, Sr. (born 1940) was the mayor of the city of Florissant, Missouri in northern St. Louis County, Missouri, since November, 2001. Before becoming mayor, Lowery served as a police officer and the police chief of Florissant and has served the citizens of Florissant in various capacities for nearly 50 year. He has stated that "I truly, truly love Florissant".[1]

Upon the death of Mayor James J. Eagan in November 2000 Council President John Moran was Mayor pro tempore and the successor to the position of mayor.

Lowery was elected Mayor on February 6, 2001 in a special election to fill the unexpired term of James Eagan. The election had a turn out of 32% of 32,467 registered voters, with Lowery winning the election with 7,057 votes, 68% of the votes cast.[2]

Law Enforcement Career[edit]

Lowery was a police officer in the city of Florissant for 41 years. During this time he served as police chief for 22 years from 1979 until he was elected mayor in 2001.[1] Lowery was elected to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission[3] and headed up the St. Louis County Police Department's Major Case Squad for 20 years.[1] In 1999 a thief stole police chief Lowery's gun and holster while he was trying on pants at St. Louis Centre.[4] Throughout his career as police chief Florissant was consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in America.[citation needed]

When elected mayor, Lowery selected Stephen Kruse to become his replacement as police chief.[5] Kruse then resigned to accept a new position working in the private sector.[6] On November 1, 2002, Lowery officially appointed William Karabas to be the city's police chief.

Mayoral campaigns, 2001, 2003, 2007[edit]

City of Florissant
Special election, 2001
Parties Votes  %
Robert G. Lowery, SR. 7,057 67.6
David L. Reynolds 2,985 28.6
Glen W. Lindemann 330 3.2
Total 10,435 99.4%
Turnout: 10,435 voters of
32,467 registered, or 32.14%
[2]

2001 special election[edit]

In November 2000 the Mayor of Florissant, James J. Egan, died from medical complications. A special election to fill the unexpired term of Mayor was held on February 6, 2001. Lowery, David L. Reynolds, and Glen W. Lindemann ran. 10,435 voters showed up on election day giving the majority (7,057) to Lowery.[2]

2003 campaign and re-election[edit]

In the election of 2003 Lowery ran unopposed.[7]

2007 campaign and re-election[edit]

In the election of 2007 Lowery ran against Andrew G. Podleski, winning by a margin of 1162 votes.[8]

Mayoralty[edit]

City of Florissant
Municipal election, 2007
Parties Votes  %
Robert G. Lowery, SR. 4,521 57.32
Andrew G. Podleski 3,359 42.59
Total 7,963 99.1%
Turnout: 7,963 voters of
34,232 registered, or 23.26%
[8]

Lowery has been the Mayor of Florissant since the special election after the death of the then current Mayor James Eagan.

Community Redevelopment[edit]

Since taking office, Lowery led the way to many new renovations in the City of Florissant.

The first of these changes came in 2002, in the part of Florissant near Lindbergh Boulevard and New Halls Ferry Road known as Cross Keys. The area had formerly been a small shopping mall with only a few tenants left. The tenants that remain included a supermarket, a pharmacy, and a fashion store, all of which are still located near the area where the new shopping center replacing the mall that once stood their. Adding to the shopping center were several new restaurants and shops including a bookstore. This had been in the Eagan Florissant city plan prior to Lowery taking office.

Lowery's improvements are not limited to the Cross Keys neighborhood. A new bicycling and walking path that extends from the Sunset Park along the Missouri River to St. Ferdinand Park was recently completed in 2006. The path, most of which runs along the same path a some high voltage powerlines, connects much of western Florissant with the main section of Florissant via a foot bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Much of the city is divided by Coldwater Creek, which has some natural and man-made tributaries that separate various neighborhoods from Berkeley, Hazelwood, Florissant, Black Jack, until pouring into the Missouri River in unincorporated St. Louis County. A similar footbridge plan was slated to connect the Wedgewood subdivision to a foot path leading to St. Ferdinand Park's east entrance, but because of strong opposition by residents in the neighborhood, this plan never became possible.

Though the commercial redevelopment of Cross Keys is a success, much of the city's other commercial areas are still in need of the same renovation, especially the Florissant Meadows section of town near the city's historic Old Town area.

Personal and City Security[edit]

Lowery has been fearful of his security since taking office. He has said that "every city has people who are really on the edge. We have 25 or 30 who are convinced that everything bad that's happening to them is the government's fault. And the closest government to them is City Hall."[9] To quell his fears, Lowery has had security cameras installed at City Hall and is considering adding metal detectors to the entrances.[10] Lowery has also had an increased police prescience in city council meetings and has also installed metal detectors for security screening of attendees.[9]

In addition during Lowery's term the city has purchased surveillance cameras to be deployed throughout the city, despite some citizens concerns about privacy issues.[11]

Controversies[edit]

Lowery has come under some controversy during his mayorship.

Eminent Domain[edit]

According to a Wall Street Journal article published on August 3, 2005, a development firm turned down a $30 million project to construct condominiums, lofts, and retail space when the owner of a piece of vacant land refused to sell. According to city officials, the developer did not want the negative publicity due to the controversy of eminent domain and eminent domain abuse. The company defended their pull-out stating poor soil conditions and flooding in addition to eminent domain issues were to blame.

Lowery commented "The company did not want the adverse publicity. People don't understand what eminent domain is. They think it's always taking grandma out of her house, and that's not true. I wouldn't touch anything like that. That's political disaster."

The developers had plans on building in Florissant's Old Town historic district, where many building are registered as historic buildings. The idea of putting an upscale development project certainly would not have been a suitable area. However, the project might have been ideal for areas such as the east side of the city where many buildings and businesses have become run down or closed.

While Mayor Lowery and former Florissant city coucilwoman Geri Debo pushed to promote the Old Town Florissant area as an Old St. Charles type area to potential businesses, the area did attract a few new stores, but the promised increased foot traffic did not come to fruition and those businesses closed and had problems selling their property.

Busch Wildlife[edit]

Another controversy that Lowery has tried to keep quiet about is his support for his son, Robert Lowery, Jr.

Robert Lowery, Jr. is the city administrator for the city of O'Fallon, Missouri in nearby St. Charles County, Missouri. Since taking office, the elder Lowery has quietly supported his son on various issues including the annexation of August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in nearby Weldon Springs, Missouri. While the younger Lowery stated that the annexation was an attempt to be viewed as a "good neighbor." But a local government watchdog group as well as a few other city officials determined the plan to be a case of backdoor politics. As a fifth ward, the wildlife preserve owned by Adolphus Busch IV and maintained by the Missouri Department of Conservation would have allowed developers to move in and whittle away the property for urban sprawl. Lowery argued that if the city did not annex the land, another nearby town would.

On June 14, 2007, the O'Fallon city council unanimously opposed the annexation for now. Attending the meeting was Mr. Busch.

Many people in O'Fallon, St. Charles County, as well as patrons of Busch Wildlife and an independent watchdog group would like to see Lowery step down not only for the Busch Wildlife incident but other instance of corruption within the O'Fallon government.

On June 24, 2009 the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Lowery, Jr. has tendered his resignation as O'Fallon City Administrator.[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gillerman, Margaret (2001-12-22). "Longtime police chief ready to become Florissant's mayor". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "OFFICIAL RESULTS- CITY OF FLORISSANT". Board of Election Commissioners of St. Louis County, Missouri. 2-8-2001. Retrieved 2009-03-18.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Florissant police chief picked for commission". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1988-11-29. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  4. ^ "Florissant police chief loses his gun to a thief at St. Louis Centre". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1999-12-15. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  5. ^ Schremp, Valerie (2001-03-01). "Florissant names police chief as replacement for Lowery". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  6. ^ Brasch Librach, Phyllis (2002-08-28). "Florissant chief of police is leaving to take executive post at company". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  7. ^ "GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION - CITY OF FLORISSANT". Board of Election Commissioners of St. Louis County, Missouri. 2003-04-15. 
  8. ^ a b "GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION - CITY OF FLORISSANT". Board of Election Commissioners of St. Louis County, Missouri. 4-3-2007.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ a b Hampel, Paul (2-10-2008). "Rampage prompts security reviews here". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-03-18.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Schlinkmann, Mark (5-12-2008). "Florissant to operate surveillance cameras". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-03-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Hollinshed, Denise (2-12-2009). "St. Charles looks anew at City Hall security". Stltoday.com. Retrieved 2009-03-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Currier, Joel (2009-06-24). "City administrator for O'Fallon, Mo., resigns over rift". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  13. ^ Currier, Joel (2009-06-25). "O'Fallon, Mo. City Administrator Robert Lowery Jr. quits". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 

External links[edit]

Links related to Bob Lowery, Jr.